Pacers 105, Bucks 97: Recap

In a game that meant a lot more to the Pacers than the Bucks, Indiana used a 26-5 blitz at the start of the fourth quarter to erase a 10 point deficit and spark them to a 105-97 win at Conseco Fieldhouse. Danny Granger led the Pacers with 27 while Jeff Foster (16/15) dueled Andrew Bogut (16/14) to a draw. Ramon Sessions had eight points and 10 assists starting in place of an "injured" Mo Williams, but he was outplayed by Travis Diener, who made five fourth quarter threes en route to 18 points and five assists.

Three Bucks

  • Charlie Villanueva. CV tallied 22 points and 13 boards, aggressively going to the hoop much of the night. He made half of his 16 shots while also hitting 5/7 free throws.
  • Desmond Mason. Mason was junk while putting up too many jumpers on Friday, but he was far more aggressive tonight, scoring 16 on 7/11 shooting. After Bogut threw down a vicious slam on a late-rotating Troy Murphy on Friday, Mason took his turn tonight, spinning baseline on Mike Dunleavy and throwing it down past Murphy.
  • Andrew Bogut. Even with the altruistic Sessions starting in Mo Williams' place, Bogut saw surprisingly little of the ball in the post, taking only eight shots in 39 minutes. Still, most of them were chip shots and he connected on six of them in addition to 4/8 free throws, 14 boards and three more blocks. However, like on Friday his big statistical night was essentially matched by Foster--a guy no one ever talks about but can play on my team any day.  

Three Numbers

  • 38. The Pacers missed plenty of open shots in the first three quarters, but the law of averages kicked in at the start of the fourth when they scored the first 16 points to take an 83-77 lead. All of a sudden the Pacers couldn't miss, helped greatly by the penetration and ball movement that was giving them open looks all night.
  • 3.13. That was the Pacers' assist/turnover ratio as they collected 25 assists compared to just eight turnovers.
  • -11. After racking up a combined +34 rating in his previous four games, Sessions came back down to earth in his first start, finishing a team-worst -11 thanks to his presence during Diener & company's fourth quarter barrage.

Three Good

  • Ramon in session. Sessions' first career start had plenty of ups and downs, probably more of the latter than the former. But we'll say it's a good thing if only because it's important the Bucks get an extended look at the rookie's abilities before the draft and free agency. The good: Sessions again showed excellent vision and his 10 assists reflect his ability to consistently put players in a position to score. Even after a made field goal, Sessions has a penchant for picking out teammates with 30-40 foot lead passes that catch the defense off guard. The bad: Sessions' defense was far more porous than in previous games and he's still struggling to sort out his role as an NBA scorer. Somewhat ironically, Sessions' defense was probably worse against Flip Murray (4/15 fg) than Diener, who got most of his threes off the Bucks doubling and ball movement. Perhaps looking to conserve some energy knowing that he was going to play huge minutes, Sessions didn't show the sort of defensive intensity that he has in previous outings, though he was credited for two blocks.
  • Bogut's numbers. Bogut notched his 36th double-double of the season in his 72nd game of the season, including eight of his last nine games. The only exception being the Atlanta game where he had 27 points and nine boards before leaving with a broken nose. In 2008, he has racked up 25 double-doubles in 41 games while averaging 16.0 ppg and 10.4 rpg.
  • Ben Sheets. Oh sorry, was I supposed to say something about the Bucks? Let's stick with the Brewers' ace.

Three Bad

  • P-Redd-ictable. With the Bucks' missing Mo Williams' scoring punch, Redd knew he had the green light all day and came out gunning. That was fine until the fourth, when the Bucks gave Bogut and Villanueva a rest and left Redd to fire away on his own. He missed three difficult jumpers in the first two minutes of the quarter to set the tone for the Bucks as they would struggle to score for the rest of the game. Though Redd managed to lead the Bucks with 24 points and added seven rebounds, he needed 21 shots to do it and also turned the ball over four times.  
  • Return of the fourth quarter collapse. The Bucks had outscored their opponents in the fourth quarter in five straight games, but entering the decisive period up 10, the Bucks seemed a bit confused. To their credit, the Pacers responded like a team that had something to play for, making 13/21 fg including 7/10 triples. And while the Bucks had an 18-14 edge in assists through 36 minutes, the Pacers racked up a staggering 11 assists in the fourth quarter while the Bucks had none.
  • Six left. The Bucks need to go 2-4 in their remaining games just to match their dreadful 06/07 campaign, a rather shocking indictment of a lost season that has been far less injury-plagued than the previous campaign. They also rank just seventh in the lottery standings after finishing last season third (though they dropped three spots thanks to the lottery). With the Clippers at 23 wins and the Bobs at 29, it's unlikely the Bucks move up or down between now and the end of the season.
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